5 years ago

Spatiotemporal and molecular epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Libya

Gabriele Schönian, Olga Moskalenko, Anja Jaeschke, Omar Hamarsheh, Marcus Frohme, Aisha Gashout, Hamida Al-Dwibe, Katrin Kuhls, Ahmad Amro, Marlena Galafin

by Ahmad Amro, Hamida Al-Dwibe, Aisha Gashout, Olga Moskalenko, Marlena Galafin, Omar Hamarsheh, Marcus Frohme, Anja Jaeschke, Gabriele Schönian, Katrin Kuhls


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major public health problem in Libya. In this paper, we describe the eco-epidemiological parameters of CL during the armed conflict period from January 2011 till December 2012. Current spatiotemporal distributions of CL cases were explored and projected to the future using a correlative modelling approach. In addition the present results were compared with our previous data obtained for the time period 1995–2008.

Methodology/Principal findings

We investigated 312 CL patients who presented to the Dermatology Department at the Tripoli Central Hospital and came from 81 endemic areas distributed in 10 districts. The patients presented with typical localized lesions which appeared commonly on the face, arms and legs. Molecular identification of parasites by a PCR-RFLP approach targeting the ITS1 region of the rDNA was successful for 81 patients with two causative species identified: L. major and L. tropica comprised 59 (72.8%) and 22 (27.2%) cases, respectively. Around 77.3% of L. tropica CL and 57.7% of L. major CL caused single lesions. Five CL patients among our data set were seropositive for HIV. L. tropica was found mainly in three districts, Murqub (27.3%), Jabal al Gharbi (27.3%) and Misrata (13.7%) while L. major was found in two districts, in Jabal al Gharbi (61%) and Jafara (20.3%). Seasonal occurrence of CL cases showed that most cases (74.2%) admitted to the hospital between November and March, L. major cases from November till January (69.4%), and L. tropica cases mainly in January and February (41%). Two risk factors were identified for the two species; the presence of previously infected household members, and the presence of rodents and sandflies in patient’s neighborhoods. Spatiotemporal projections using correlative distribution models based on current case data and climatic conditions showed that coastal regions have a higher level of risk due to more favourable conditions for the transmitting vectors.


Future projection of CL until 2060 showed a trend of increasing incidence of CL in the north-western part of Libya, a spread along the coastal region and a possible emergence of new endemics in the north-eastern districts of Libya. These results should be considered for control programs to prevent the emergence of new endemic areas taking also into consideration changes in socio-economical factors such as migration, conflicts, urbanization, land use and access to health care.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005873

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.